Which Home Business To Launch ?
For a lot of professionals which home business to launch is a pretty straight forward decision. If you’re a lawyer you set up a legal advise service, if you’re in marketing you set up a marketing consultancy service. But if you have more general skills that can be applied to many different industires then the decision can be a bit more difficult to make. Here are a few suggestions that I have seen implemented to great success by parents in our beta site.
1. Web Writer
To save money, companies are expanding the online segments of their businesses and hire independent web writers to proof-read and write advertising copy for their products and services. They also write blogs, articles, and e-newsletters to help web site owners keep in touch with regular customers and attract new ones.
Success Tips: Successful Web writers keep readersâ€™ interest with concise writing, breaking up text with lists and bullet points. Having a background in marketing, knowing the terminology of industry for which you are writing, and grasping the basic grammar in the language you are writing, are essential.
Suggested Resources: http://www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/
2. Internet Business Start-Up Consultant
Surprisingly, fewer than half of all small businesses still do not have web sites; but with recent dramatic drops in sales, many of these owners now want to have web sites to reach new customers and increase their profits. Internet business professionals guide their clients through the entire process, providing them with the information, resources, and experts they need to start up and/or expand a web site business.
Success Tips: Additional potential customers include the increasing number of women and baby boomers who are starting businesses; plus a rising number of existing businesses with web sites who wish to expand into exporting to global markets. Market your expertise with referrals, articles in business publications and e-zines, leading seminars at local business expos, and through your own web site and blog.
Suggested Resources: Stompernet – Still the most respected experts in SEO/SEM but it will cost you a whole $1. Mashable – Daily updates on the world of social marketing
3. Barter Network
When money is scarce, people use bartering more often to exchange goods for services or vice versa. Start an exclusive online network, enabling your clients to make their bartering transactions between one another, or arrange periodic meetings at set locations where people purchase tickets for the opportunities to barter in person.
Success Tips: Local barter networks are often more successful as participants prefer to see tradable items and meet the people with whom they are bartering. Work to build trust in your network.
Suggested Resources: International Reciprocal Trade Association (www.irta.com) USA & Europe â€“ Standards, information. National Association of Trade Exchanges (www.nate.org) USA only – Networking.
4. Specialty Farming
Due to an increase in food-related illnesses, higher prices, and the desire for organic foods, more people seek local specialty growers for fresh produce, milks, honey, and meats. Restaurant chefs also seek unique and fresh foods for their recipes and sauces.
Success Tips: Use farmerâ€™s markets to test-market your produce and attract new customers. Set up a simple web site to send e-mail marketing messages to customers, advertising specials, and offering products via mail order. Join local growersâ€™ or farmersâ€™ associations for support.
Suggested Resources: www.sba.gov; USA only. http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/organic/ – UK resource for organic farming
5. Cost-Analyst Professional
In economic downturns, companies large and small often hire cost-analyst financial experts who evaluate their businessesâ€™s operations to cut expenses and operate more efficiently. Individuals seek similar professionals to assess their finances and set up budgets to eliminate their debts and increase savings.
Success Tips: Financial degrees and experience in cost-cutting in your field will qualify you as the expert to potential clients. Adhere to any regulations and licensing needed. Obtain referrals from accountants, bankers, credit counselors, and satisfied clients.
Suggested Resources: The Budget Kit: The Common Cents Money Management Workbook by Judy Lawrence. Modern Cost Management Analysis by Jae K. Shim Ph. D., Joel G. Siegel Ph. D. CPA.
6. Auctions, Online Broker/Assistant
People looking for quick cash or getting rid of unwanted items, but lack the time or the know-how sell their items at online marketplaces, will pay commissions to professionals to sell their items on the Internet. Most online brokers specialize in the items they sell.
Success Tips: Know the value of your clientsâ€™ items and the best sites to sell them. Use recommended software for tracking online listings, for bookkeeping and billing, and to record your consignorâ€™s information and contracts. Depending on local traffic regulations, decide if you will pick up your clientsâ€™ items or have them brought to your home-business location.
Suggested Resources: www.auctionbytes.com – online-auction industry news. http://ebay.about.com/ – always a great resource.
7. Teaching-Tutoring, Online
Computer and communications technology and Internet access have opened the world of â€œcyber-schoolâ€ for students of all ages. Having the qualifications, experience, and recognition in your field and/or profession will enable you to work as an independent educational professional for online institutions or businesses; offer independent classes; or open your own online learning center with workshops and live seminars.
Success Tips: Study current online educational centers and institutions, and apply to the ones that fit your philosophy and style of teaching. Local colleges and universities, homeschooling associations, and companies, organizations, and government agencies are also possible markets.
8. Career Counselling
Career counselors offer individuals or groups guidance in finding new vocations or training based on their skills and life goals. Likely clients include individuals who have lost their jobs or wish to go into new careers; and business owners who want to help employees retrain for new positions in their companies or in the job market.
Success Tips: Independent career counselors usually have counseling graduate degrees, plus, experience and knowledge of the job skills required for one or more industries or professions. Check for licensing requirements. Market your services through your web site, referrals, leading workshops, and/or writing articles, book, and e-books.
Suggested Resources: *National Career Development Association – http://ncda.org/ USA only. http://www.amazingpeople.co.uk/ UK only
9. Budget Travel Service
Even in economic slumps, people love to travel, so you can start an online budget travel service, offering to customise economy tours and trips for organizations, families, and business owners. Look for travel industry â€œnichesâ€ serving special populations such as individuals with disabilities or pet-owners; plus work with local bus companies and passenger trains; and state tourist agencies for other affordable touring options.
Success Tips: Get the schooling, certification, and experience needed to offer a quality travel service. Use Internet social and web-video sites to feature some of your popular travel destinations; send out periodic e-mails and special discounts to regular customers; and solicit online feedback and testimonials from your satisfied travelers. Conduct local question-answer travel workshops at trade shows and/or on your local cable television stations.
Suggested Resources: American Society of Travel Agents – www.asta.org/. Association of British Travel Agents – http://www.abta.com/home
10. Consultant, Professional (in Your Industry)
If you have recently lost your job or have been thinking of going out on your own, and have the experience, qualifications, and the recognition of being an expert in your field or industry, consider becoming a professional consultant. In bad economies, business owners and individuals who need consultantsâ€™ money-saving expertise are good potential first customers.
Success Tips: Successful consultants are skilled at problem-solving and communicate well with their clients. Write a strategic business and marketing plan. As it takes time to build a consultant practice, start part-time if you still have a job, or moonlight in other endeavors until your businessâ€™s profits can support you. Network with other consultants in business organizations and industry associations for tips and referrals.
Suggested Resources: *Million Dollar Consulting (TM) Toolkit: Step-By-Step Guidance, Checklists, Templates and Samples from “The Million Dollar Consultant” by Alan Weiss.
11. Grant Writer, Professional
Donations and grant money become difficult to acquire in economic slumps, so nonprofit organizations will seek the services of experienced grant writing professionals with proven track records in acquiring grant awards for their clients. Skilled grant writers know the different types of writing formats and when to use them.
Success Tips: In addition to having substantial experience, successful grant writers are good at communicating, research, planning, as well as writing in an organized, logical, and compelling manner that clearly conveys the goals of how clientsâ€™ grants will be used. Volunteer with nonprofit organizations to assist in grant proposals and enroll in related courses.
12. Information Broker
Information brokers are skilled in accessing information from specialized databases, the Internet, and other sources for their clientsâ€™ business, professional, and organizational needs. Their expertise is often focused in medical, education, manufacturing, telecommunications, and other industries. They also often set up libraries, write documents, and summarize market analysis data for clients.
Success Tips: Many information brokers have backgrounds in library science or research experience in their industries. In recessions, offer to provide customers with market research and competitor analysis data to discover sideline ventures and services to reach new customers and increase profits. Market your services with referrals, trade shows, a web site, direct letters, and personal appointments.
Suggested Resources: Association of Independent Information Professionals – www.aiip.org – networking; membership referrals.
13. Online Marketing Expert
Small business owners, independent professionals, and artists are often so busy producing their products or services that they do not have the time to maximize affordable Internet marketing strategies. You can instruct them how to utilize the latest tactics, or get paid to do it for them.
Success Tips: Clients will expect you to have extensive marketing education, training, and experience; the technological knowledge; and the ability to teach them to execute the latest in online marketing methods. These include as blogging, offering teleseminars, podcasts, webinars, and utilizing social web and video web sites to feature your clients and their businesses.
Suggested Resources: Stompernet – again, the best resource I know of for online marketing.
14. Professional Life Coach
People â€œburned outâ€ in their present occupations or who have lost their jobs due to an economic downturn need job/career-selection guidance. Professional life coaches help clients assess their present situations, interests, and needs, and suggest career choices; along with specific actions and steps their clients can take to achieve their life goals.
Success Tips: Professional coaches have education and experience in human resources, psychology, business, and other human interest professions. Hold community seminars, write columns or articles in local papers or industry-related publications and online sites, and offer free initial consultations to attract new customers. Send e-mails, e-newsletters, and tips to stay in touch with paying clients.
Suggested Resources: *International Coaching Federation – www.coachfederation.org/ICF/ – training, certification. http://www.achievementspecialists.co.uk/Life_Coaching
15. RÃ©sumÃ© Writing Service
Professional rÃ©sumÃ© writers provide clients with attention-grabbing cover letters and well-written rÃ©sumÃ©s, in both print and electronic formats, that convince employers the value of hiring their clients. Interview coaching, posting clientsâ€™ rÃ©sumÃ©s to specific online job sites that match clientsâ€™ skills, and pre-screening services to businesses are additional services you might offer.
Success Tips: Potential customers include those who have been laid off, recent graduates, workers re-entering the work force, those discharged from military service, and those seeking new careers. Market your services with community workshops, and join forces with related professionals like career counselors or employment agencies.
16. Small Manufacturing – Your Own Product/Invention
In times when money is scarce or materials are unavailable, ingenious people invent substitute items or devise new operational methods. If you have created a new product, software program, or new designs/methods that can save buyers time or money or appeal to industries not affected by recessions, consider making it yourself or approaching a manufacturer for mass productions, but under your own label. You would handle the distribution and marketing.
Success Tips: From idea to the actual product is a lengthy process, so consult with lawyers and other professionalsâ€™ for advice on obtaining patents, licensing, and financing. Network with other innovators for advice and marketing tips. Consider advertising on prime-time radio and television advertising whose rates are lower during recessions.
17. Collection Services
Unfortunately, slow economic times increase the need for collection services. Despite the bad reputation resulting from unethical practices of some debt collectors, the industry promotes professionalism and ethical practices as its professionals strive to help individuals and businesses collect money owed to them and stay solvent. Some collection businesses also offer their clients invoicing and billing, and other related services.
Success Tips: Extensive training, experience in this industry and knowledge of the laws, are essential for your success. Utilize the industry software and technology to track your operations. Be aware of legal consequences of any unfair practices on your part, and be ready to work with both parties to get payment agreements.
Suggested Resources: *ACA International – www.acainternational.org/. The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals – USA only. Credit Services Association – http://www.csa-uk.com/ – UK only
18.Virtual Thrift Shop
Collectibles are not the only items sold online. Many persons profit from selling gently-used, name-brand clothing, especially childrenâ€™s, and other good used items on marketplace and classified ads web sites. You can start with a wide variety of items or specialize. You are limited only by the sources of the items you sell.
Success Tips: Research the items that sell best. Look for untapped markets. Take time to set up a web site that is easy for buyers to negotiate and purchase. Market your site by listing your link on other sites, or related blogs; or writing articles for on- and off-line publications about the items you sell
Suggested Resources: *How to Start and Run an eBay Consignment Business by Skip McGrath